Inside Smarter Balanced

Smarter Balanced States Approve Achievement Level Recommendations

11/18/14 – Joe Willhoft, Executive Director

November 18, 2014 – Smarter Balanced members voted to approve the initial achievement levels for the math and English assessments that will be administered in 17 states and one territory this school year. The achievement levels help provide a more accurate picture of individual student performance, and the vote marks an incredibly important milestone in the development of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

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Smarter Balanced begins Achievement Level Setting process

10/14/14 – Joe Willhoft, Executive Director

October 14, 2014 – Last week, Smarter Balanced marked the launch of Achievement Level Setting—the Consortium’s three-phase process of establishing categories of performance on an assessment.
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Smarter Balanced prepares for 2014-2015 school year

08/29/14 – Joe Willhoft, Executive Director

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of another school year. While nearly all students will head back to class in the next few days, for educators, summer break is rarely the relaxed vacation time those outside education might presume. This summer was particularly busy for teachers and school leaders across the Consortium with planning and preparation for implementation of new standards and the launch of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System. Some of our highlights include:

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Consortium Marks Milestone with Completion of Field Test

06/16/14 – Joe Willhoft, Executive Director

On June 6, the Consortium marked a significant milestone, as the 12-week testing window for the Field Test came to a close. The scale and scope of this “practice run” of assessments was truly unprecedented. As of 6/13/14 (the end of the optional makeup week provided to states), 4.2 million students completed the assessment, making this the largest online assessment in the nation’s history.
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2 million students complete Smarter Balanced Field Test

04/25/14 – Joe Willhoft, Executive Director

Smarter Balanced reached a significant milestone as 2 million students completed the Field Test. This practice run or “test of the test” that helps ensure that assessment questions are accurate and fair for all students. It also allows teachers and students to gain experience with computerized assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
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Smarter Balanced Marks Milestone with Launch of Field Test

04/01/14 – Joe Willhoft, Executive Director

One week ago, Smarter Balanced marked a truly groundbreaking moment in U.S. education as Governing States began a practice run of the assessments known as a Field Test. The Field Test will ensure that the assessments are reliable, valid, and fair for all students. Since Tuesday, March 25th, more than 558,000 tests have been completed and more than 663,000 tests have been started. We will post updated figures each weekday on our homepage and provide periodic reports on our progress in this blog.

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Smarter Balanced reflects on the Consortium’s great work in 2013

02/25/14 – Joe Willhoft, Executive Director

After an eventful and productive 2013, Smarter Balanced is on track and moving forward toward the launch of operational assessments in the 2014-15 school year. The Smarter Balanced assessments are a key part of implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and preparing all students for success in college and careers. The assessments will replace existing tests and provide an “academic checkup” for students, parents, and teachers by measuring real-world skills like critical thinking and problem solving.  In addition, they will provide information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are succeeding and where they need help.
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Smarter Balanced assessments: A big moment for our schools

02/19/14 – Joe Willhoft, Executive Director

From the beginning, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has been dedicated to helping students succeed. In an article published today on the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s “Common Core Watch” blog, we reaffirm our commitment to students, parents and educators as we continue to develop a reliable, valid and fair assessment system. “This is a big moment for our schools – a moment in which we can deliver a system of tools that will help teachers and parents truly understand where students are excelling and more clearly identify where they need help.”
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Smarter Balanced Receives New Grant to Support Teachers

01/07/14 – Joe Willhoft, Executive Director

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announced today grants to Smarter Balanced and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) totaling more than $1.6 million. These grants will fund a partnership between the two multi-state assessment consortia and the nation’s largest teachers’ unions, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), to further engage educators in the development of next-generation assessment systems.
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U.S. Virgin Islands Commits to Smarter Balanced

12/17/13 – Joe Willhoft, Executive Director

The U.S. Virgin Islands—an Affiliate Member of Smarter Balanced since March 2013—will implement the assessment system beginning in the 2014-15 school year. Noting that the Consortium’s online assessments will provide timely feedback about student progress toward college readiness, the Virgin Islands Department of Education pledged to continue collaboration with the Consortium through its work groups.
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